Baseline Specifications for the 3.5 CBRS Band are Now Complete

The Wireless Innovation Forum (WInnForum) has completed the ten standards comprising the baseline specifications for commercial operations within the 3.5 GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) band. This event allows the finalization of CBRS products that are already in various levels of testing and sets the stage for the rollout of commercial CBRS networks.

CBRS is know as the Citizens Broadband Radio Service. In 2015, the FCC authorized the use of the 3.5 GHz band i.e 3550 MHz to 3700 MHz for shared wireless access. This band was previously used by the US Navy and other DoD members and was not open for commercial use. The radio interface for CBRS used in this band will be the same as LTE, however the difference will be that this spectrum will be shared by all contenders who have access to this band i.e they will be able to use the spectrum when required and once they are done using it, it will be freed up for use by other requesters.

What the Stakeholders are saying:

According to Alphabet Inc, completion of these standards demonstrates that it is now possible to make major changes in how they approach managing spectrum resources to provide the abundant bandwidth essential to the society. This accomplishment shows that flexible, cloud-based management can enable spectrum to be used for many purposes simultaneously, and relegate the exclusive, command and control vision of spectrum allocation to history.

Ricky Corker, Executive Vice President, Nokia, believes, that the 150 MHz of CBRS shared spectrum band that has been made available in the US will enable cost effective coverage and capacity expansion at a large scale. The completion of detailed specifications of the CBRS Baseline Standards, while working with various contributors from multiple companies, according to him, is a monumental milestone achievement.

According to Ericsson, USA, the completion of the CBRS Baseline Standards represents an important milestone for spectrum sharing, unleashing the band’s potential for innovation. The wholehearted cooperation of incumbents, including the DoD, the NTIA, the fixed satellite industry, and the commitment of the FCC to the success of the CBRS is to be acknowledged. Ericsson is now looking forward to speedy certification of the SAS and ESC and a smooth transition to commercial operation of LTE nationwide in the 3.5 GHz shared spectrum band.

Verizon too was happy to see the WInnForum make timely progress in publishing CBRS protocol and test specifications. According to the US telecom giant, these are critical steps in the testing of CBRS SAS systems, ESC systems, and CBSD devices and the eventual deployment of network infrastructure and consumer devices on this highly desirable CBRS spectrum. Access to additional wireless spectrum is essential for providers who want to deliver on the promise of next generation technologies and thus the company believes the FCC’s new CBRS shared spectrum approach is an innovative and responsible way to leverage all the available spectrum resources in the U.S.

According to Chuck Hogg, Chairman of the Board of the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA), over the past two years WISPA and its members, both operators and manufacturers, have made substantial investments to be in a position to rapidly deploy in the CBRS band so that they can bring broadband to rural Americans who lack service today. The release of these standards is a critical milestone that will pave the way for a more connected future in rural America. With CBRS, the U.S. is on the cusp of commercializing a revolutionary spectrum allocation model — not only will it ensure that limited public airwaves are put to their most efficient use, it also gives innovators from all types of businesses, with all types of business models, the opportunity to compete for protected spectrum.

Don Stockdale and Julius Knapp, Chiefs of the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau and Office of Engineering and Technology stated that the Commission’s rules for the Citizen’s Broadband Radio Service at 3.5 GHz anticipated that a multi-stakeholder process would work to establish many of the details for the functioning of the required Spectrum Access System and related matters.

Also commenting on the occasion, Lee Pucker, CEO of the WInnForum who said that the creation of these ten baseline standards included more than 60 stakeholder organizations participating in 1,345 hours of standards development meetings, accounting for more than 30,000 person hours of investment in meetings alone from those organizations. Now that the WInnForum Baseline Standards are complete, equipment and services targeted for use in the band can begin the certification processes.

The specifications in the baseline include:

Click here to register technologies for use in the band.

Click here to view WInnForum Accredited CBRS Vendors or apply for approval:

Click here read more about the WInnForum CBSD Certification Program.